PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The officers and crew of amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) gathered to remember those lost during the attacks on Pearl Harbor during a Remembrance Day ceremony, Dec. 7.
The attacks brought more than 2,400 service member and civilian casualties, 2,008 of whom were Sailors.
Seventy-three years ago President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered one of the most famous speeches in American history; "Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
The attack, a single carefully-planned and well-executed strike removed the Navy's battleship force as a possible threat to the Empire of Japan's expansion southward. America, significantly weakened, was suddenly brought into World War II.
"The bombs that fell on the island of Oahu took almost 2,400 American lives, damaged our Pacific Fleet, challenged our resilience, and tested our resolve," said Cmdr. Scott Hudson, executive officer of Peleliu.
"Today, and everyday I ask that you pay tribute to the ships and the Sailors our nation lost that day," said Hudson. "And I ask that you use the inspiration of those who fought, and those who died at Pearl Harbor, to drive your desire and determination to always be ready."
The ceremony included a parade of colors performed by Peleliu's color guard, a speech by Hudson, the event's guest speaker, a history of the attack on Pearl Harbor by members of Peleliu's diversity team, and a gun salute.
"I believe that today's ceremony is important because it allows us time to reflect on what we can take away from tragedy, from trials, and from triumph," said Hudson.
In addition to the casualties and injuries suffered by service members, the Navy took a huge hit from Japanese forces, having sunk five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat aircraft were also destroyed.
"We are inspired by the memory of those who sacrificed their all at Pearl Harbor, and should feel invigorated serving our nation in the same manner these men of principle and valor did so many years ago," said Hudson.
One of the battleships lost that day was USS Arizona (BB-39), which is the final resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 crew members. It is now a memorial for all those who were lost that day.
"It's imperative that all Americans take time to visit the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor to pay tribute to the ships, and the Sailors our nation lost that day," said Hudson.
On Dec. 5, 2013, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation designating December 7 of each year as "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day" and encouraged all Americans to observe this day and to honor our military, past and present, and urged all Federal agencies, organizations, groups and individuals to fly the flag at half-staff to honor those Americans who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor.
Peleliu is on its final regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region before decommissioning early next year.